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We Need Advent Now More Than Ever

We Need Advent Now More Than Ever

My most significant childhood memory of Advent is the year it smelled like our Advent wreath had been peed on. You read that correctly. Let me set the stage for you. Each year – early December or late November – the church I grew up in would have a time set aside for families to make Advent wreaths. Some lovely church people would cut the vegetation, likely from some overgrown church bushes, stuff them into black trash bags, and buy as many of those green garden styrofoam things as possible. Supplemented with five candles of some kind, we would file into the Fellowship Hall, stick shrubbery into the styrofoam and leave feeling accomplished and ready to celebrate Advent.

For the Sundays to come, my family would light the Advent candles. The wreath then went in the trash, the calendar switched over to January. Back to normal life. 

I was recently asked if I celebrated Advent growing up. I don’t know if putting together an Advent wreath was considered “celebrating Advent”, but it did lay the stage in my heart with the knowledge that the Advent season is different from other seasons. It wasn’t until I was post college that the Advent season became more than the lighting of the candles and sticking shrubbery into styrofoam.

It goes without saying that 2020 hasn’t turned into the “the future is bright,” “I can see clearly now,” “my vision is clear cause #2020” year we all thought it would be. It’s more like we’ve been looking out at the world without our contacts in – everything is a little blurry, and please don’t ask me to drive like this. We thought we saw the future clearly. Wasn’t it looking “so bright”?! February feels like an eternity ago and a moment ago – all at the same time. Life “before pandemic” is hard to remember and normal is new and still weird and does this mask match my shirt? 

We need Advent now more than ever. We need a change in the church calendar. We need a change in our own heart rhythms. We need anticipation and wonder. 2020 has taken a lot from people – graduations, gatherings, celebrations, normal routine, in person schooling, life that was on autopilot. I think most notably, we’ve lost anticipation. We aren’t throwing parties. We aren’t looking forward to dinner with a friend. We aren’t even anticipating that the weeks will have any sense of pre-pandemic life. We’ve moved over to penciling things in for next week, so we can just erase them, our plans hinging on the next governmental order and living (or dying) by the weather. 

We need Advent now more than ever. 

We need the anticipation of the Baby King on his way. 

We need the vision of a season that is outside of ourselves and though pandemic and politics rule our lives, we need the reminder that, when we are in Christ, we live in a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28). 

Advent cannot be taken from us. The anticipation of the King who will come is here and we need it now more than ever. He will not be stopped. The plan for him to enter the world, live a sinless life, die a death I deserved, defeat death once and for all will not be altered by all the power of darkness, pandemic, politics, or evil. 

Advent means we wait patiently for God to do what He said He would do. We look back at the birth of the Baby that set into motion a grand rescue plan. And we look forward to His second coming. We look to the King who has never failed. The God who has never changed. The Lord of Lords whose heart is for us and with us. He is faithful to come. And come He will.

We need Advent now more than ever. I can feel the anticipation rising in my soul. And no one – not a politician, a broken plan, nor a pandemic can take that away.

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